Should celebrities be criticized for their parents’ political affiliations?

Jenna Taylor, Contributing Writer

When a celebrity becomes famous, oftentimes they lose the luxury of privacy. A simple Instagram post becomes a statement; everything they upload gets dissected, down to the profiles they tag, the clothes they wear and the people they are with. The power and influence that comes with having millions of followers at their disposal, also presents the opportunity for criticism. 

A recent example of this is an Instagram post made by the “Euphoria” star, Sydney Sweeney. Sweeney made a seemingly innocent post of her celebrating her mother’s 60th birthday with a western cowboy theme. At first glance, it looks like it was an ordinary family event with lots of food, children and other activities. However, when you pay closer attention, you will see one of her family members wearing a “Blue Lives Matter” flag on their t-shirt. If you click on the tagged accounts for the post, you will find her brother, who shared a photo of himself with people who appeared to be sporting red “Make America Great Again” caps. If you zoom in closely on the MAGA-inspired hats you will see that they actually are not official MAGA hats, they are hats that say “Make Sixty Great Again.” Trump is a polarizing political figure, and centering party favors around his presidential campaign slogan would lead a large majority to think that people celebrating at this party would likely support him. 

Sydney Sweeney took to Twitter to post a statement following the backlash to her controversial post stating, “An innocent celebration for my mom’s milestone 60th birthday has turned into an absurd political statement, which was not the intention. Please stop making assumptions.” The main issue with her statement is that “absurd political statements” are sprinkled throughout all of her pictures, and it is simply an observation, not an assumption, that her family is wearing politically-charged clothing pieces. It is also important to note that Sydney Sweeney had been very vocal in 2020 when protests for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement were occurring shortly following the death of George Floyd. Many celebrities have been called out for being performative during the Black Lives Matter protests, and fans questioned whether celebrities viewed equal human rights as an important value they believe in. 

This begs the question: Is Sydney Sweeney going against her words of support for BLM by associating herself with her uber-conservative family members? And if not, should she have made those posts at all? To put this into a less polarizing perspective, a choice that people often discuss is their preference for chocolate or vanilla. Someone who prefers chocolate is likely not going to have an Instagram post of them eating a huge tub of vanilla ice cream because that is not what they like or prefer. The same could be said for a conservative family member — as a famous liberal woman, why would you post close people in your life wearing polarizing political clothing if you personally do not share the same ideas and values?